The Father of Reform
John Cartwright, the “Father of Reform” and champion of universal suffrage, was buried in St Mary-at-Finchley in 1824. In 1835 a monument to him was erected in the churchyard, paid for by public subscription. The monument is a Grade II listed building, but is on the English Heritage “Heritage at Risk” Register due to its dangerous condition. A campaign has been launched to reinstate the memorial. You can contribute via Just Giving
Cartwright was born in Nottinghamshire in 1740. His younger brother Edmund became famous as the inventor of the power loom. At the age of eighteen John entered the Royal Navy, but after some years found that his political opinions were leading him in another direction. When the disputes with the American colonies began, he believed that the colonists had right on their side and warmly supported their cause. In 1776 his first publication on reform appeared, and from then on he devoted himself to the causes of universal suffrage and annual parliaments. He left his large estate in Lincolnshire in 1803 or 1805 to move to Enfield, where he made friends with other leading radicals. In 1812, he initiated the Hampden Clubs, which aimed to bring together middle class moderates and lower class radicals to promote reform.